Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation
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  • Inpatient-Spinal-CordA Personal Approach to Care

    At Helen Hayes Hospital’s Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program, patients benefit from a full range of rehabilitative services dedicated to enabling them to resume active, independent lives. Our philosophy is to let the patient be our guide, helping our skilled specialists design an individualized treatment plan to meet the patient’s specific needs and goals.

    The program treats the complex affects of spinal cord injury, including paraplegia and quadriplegia, respiratory disorders, bowel and bladder dysfunction and spasticity, as well as emotional and psychological issues related to adjustment to a new way of life.

    Each patient receives treatment from a multidisciplinary rehabilitation team under the direction of a board certified physician specializing in spinal cord injury rehabilitation. Working collaboratively toward the patient’s goals, the team consists of physical, occupational and speech therapists, rehabilitation nurses, case managers, dieticians and other committed professionals. The team encourages a patient’s family to participate in the rehabilitation process through frequent visits and patient/family conferences.


    Spinal cord injury can affect a person’s total way of life, which is why it is vital to have a comprehensive continuum of care that addresses a patient’s full spectrum of needs, such as the program at Helen Hayes. We care for patients with spinal cord injuries due to trauma, acts of violence, tumors, sports injuries, spinal stenosis, compression fractures and transverse myelitis. We also care for patients with Guillian Barre syndrome and peripheral nervous system disorders, as well as myopathies and muscular dystrophies.

    Video Testimonials

    Click here to see how our spinal cord injury rehabilitation program helped patient Daymon’s recovery.

    The Best of Care … The Best of Results

    The strength of our program is its extensive range of services, offering a smooth continuum of care. Patients are admitted directly into our specially designed and equipped spinal cord injury (SCI) unit, which offers round-the-clock monitoring and the capability to care for patients with feeding tubes and ventilators. Following intensive inpatient rehabilitation, patients can progress into our Outpatient Therapy programs. The hospital also has a Wellness Center, specially equipped for wheelchair users, to encourage individuals living with spinal cord injury to stay healthy and prevent future complications from the initial injury and aging.

    Helen Hayes Hospital is not only concerned with rehabilitation, but also research. We are actively involved in research trials that many former patients participate in.

    The SCI service operates their own in-house patient TV channel featuring a number of educational programs. It runs on hospital TV Channel 54, 24 hours per day/ 7 days a week.

    Specialized Care Services

    Helen Hayes Hospital provides a full spectrum of services to restore confidence and help the patient resume full living. These include:

    • CARF-accredited 24-bed SCI unit & therapy gym
    • SCI board-certified physician
    • Physical therapy to restore mobility & strength
    • Occupational therapy to restore the activities of daily living
    • Speech Therapy
    • Dedicated patient rooms equipped with internet access and environmental controls to maximize patient independence
    • State-of-the-art therapeutic equipment including: Therastride treadmill, Bioness upper extremity FES, RTS-300 FES bicycle, LiteGait, VitalStim, FEES
    • Urology consultation to manage bowel/bladder disorders
    • Dysphagia/swallowing therapy including videoflouroscopy & neuromuscular electrical stimulation
    • Body weight supported Locomotor training
    • Ventilator weaning & management/Respiratory Therapy
    • Rehabilitative nursing
    • Psychiatry & psychology services
    • Peer counseling delivered by individuals living with spinal cord injury
    • Assistive technology/Seating & Mobility Center
    • Virtual reality & aquatic therapies
    • Medication evaluation & optimization
    • Sexual counseling
    • Nutrition education
    • Patient & family education
    • Recreational Therapy services
    • Vocational rehabilitation services
    • Driver evaluation & training
    • On-site Prosthetic Orthotic Center
    • Adaptive Sports & Rec Program
    • Access to transitional apartment for patient/family practice of newly learned life skills
    • Case management & discharge planning
    • SCI support group

    For family and friends traveling long distances who wish to visit with our spinal cord injured patients, the hospital makes dormitory rooms available for overnight stays. This also allows loved ones to fully participate in the rehabilitation process, offering comfort and support and becoming educated as to the patient’s needs.

    The Helen Hayes Hospital Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program is JCAHO and CARF Accredited.

    For more information, please contact the Helen Hayes Admission Referral Center:
    1-888-70-REHAB ext. 4535
    To schedule a guided tour, call 845-786-4233

    For comprehensive educational materials on SCI, please click here.

    Think First Program

    The “Think First” program is a nation-wide initiative focused on brain and spinal cord injury prevention. Offered through the hospital’s physical therapy department, therapists and former patients visit with students at local junior and senior high schools. During the presentation, they discuss safety precautions and injury prevention techniques and the medical consequences of injury. Former patients living with SCI share their personal experiences with the students. Find out more.

    For information, or to schedule this community program, contact:
    Elaine DeFrancesco, PT

    For more information on Spinal Cord Injuries visit:

    American Spinal Cord Injry Association– http://www.asia-spinalinjury.org
    Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professional– http://www.academyscipro.org
    Paralyzed Veterns of America– http://www.pva.org
    International Spinal Cord Society– http://www.iscos.org.uk
    Care Cure Community– http://www.CareCure.org
    United Spinal– http://www.unitedspinal.org
    Facing Disability- http://www.facingdisability.com

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